DESTINATION GUIDES

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A GUIDE TO BULGARIA

What are you looking for from a holiday? Soaking up the sun on a golden beach, skiing down some of the best slopes around, a break in a vibrant modern city steeped in ancient culture? Bulgaria has all this – and more! The country, in the south east of Europe, is a place of contrasts offering something to suit all tastes – and budgets – all year round. It is quickly becoming one of the hottest holiday destinations, and that is no surprise. The Black Sea coast offers wonderful beach resorts, perfect for a peaceful, relaxing vacation in the sun or an action-packed holiday filled with watersport activities. Or you can head inland to explore the beautiful and fascinating national parks, and all the adventure they have to offer. Or why not head for the hills and take advantage of some of the best snow in Europe, with facilities for all levels of skiers. Or you can visit the historic towns or cities, where you can soak up the unique culture and heritage of a fascinating country and share the exciting modern vibrancy which is fast becoming a hallmark of Bulgaria.

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Sofia Weather Forecast, Bulgaria
Factbook
Capital (and largest city): Sofia
Official languages: Bulgarian
EU accession: January 1, 2007
Currency: Lev (BGN) | 1BGN = 0.47GBP (last updated on 12. March 2009)
Calling code: +359
Time zone: UTC+2
   
Area: Total 110,910 km² (112th) 42,823 sq mi
Coastline: 354 km
Population: 7,640,000 (93rd)
Climate: temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

It truly is a year-round destination, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures ranging between the mid-20s and 30 degrees Celsius in the summer. The Black Sea coast boasts more than 300kms of golden beaches sloping gently into the tide-free water – making resorts like Bourgas and Varna safe and popular destinations for families. From quaint and quiet fishing villages to purpose-built modern resorts, you will find the perfect location to suit any taste or budget. In the early part of the year it’s those in search of snow who head for Bulgaria, determined to hunt out the many challenging slopes. But you don’t have to be into skiing or snowboarding to find action and adventure in Bulgaria – the spectacular landscape of high mountains and hills, plains, gorges and three huge National Parks offer climbing, caving, horse riding, mountain biking and more. Whatever the time of year, you will be able to enjoy the timeless beauty and fascination of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage. From ancient tombs in Sveshtari to the medieval rock reliefs of the Shoumen region, the influences of the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and Bulgaria’s more modern history are on show. There’s all this and so much more to enjoy – we haven’t even started on the wonderful locally-produced wines, the traditional music and folk festivals, the thermal spas, the excellent restaurants or the vibrant nightlife!

Bourgas – The region covers an idyllic stretch of coast in the south of the country, with long stretches of golden sands and dramatic cliffs. Here you will find modern tourist resorts, such as Sunny Beach and Obzar, bustling with holidaymakers and families enjoying traditional breaks in the sun, and quaint fishing villages offering peace and tranquillity. Plus, there is the city of Bourgas, which boasts an opera house, art gallery and museums which make the journey inland from the coast worthwhile. So, whether you are looking for a Costa-style holiday in the sun with plenty of lively bars or a chance to experience a relaxing break in traditional surroundings, the Bourgas region is for you. There’s a wide choice of accommodation, including self-catering apartments, to suit all tastes and budgets, so you are sure to find the perfect getaway here.

Varna – This region is the perfect destination to get a real flavour of Bulgaria. Ideally located on the Black Sea coast, the bay is dotted with Blue Flag standard beaches, all enjoying a warm climate and calm, clear waters. You are also within easy reach of other leading resorts, including Golden Sands. Not only can you enjoy the region’s beaches, but you can also explore Bulgaria’s third largest city, Varna. A break in the Varna region will leave you feeling fully revitalised.

Sofia – Bulgaria's capital is one of Europe's largest cities, as well as one of the most fascinating. Holidaymakers looking for an affordable city break in a destination steeped in history and modern, vibrant culture have seen Sofia becoming one of the most popular vacation spots. Sofia caters for all kinds of tourists, whether you are looking for a truly European-style city break among the yellow cobbled streets and stone-faced buildings of the city centre or some well-earned rest and relaxation touring beauty spots like the wonderful Borisova Gardens. Sofia is also on the 'must-see' lists of visitors who choose Bulgaria for the ski resorts of the nearby Vitosha Mountains, which provide a stunning backdrop to Sofia.

Recommended destinations for Bulgaria